Yesterday, Page Six reported a "missive" from an American Media mole in which just over six pages are spent railing against Star editrix Bonnie Fuller. What could possibly be said about Bonnie that hasn't been said before? We've got our hands on the dispatch and would love to highlight its finer, more rational points:
· Bonnie is selfish: "In reality, Bonnie cherrypicks through the gift bags herself, taking out everything she wants for herself and her four kids and then whatever is left she gives away to the readers."
· Bonnie is ugly: "She walks like a duck."
· Bonnie's kids can't read: "One of Bonnie's children has a learning disorder and when her husband couldn't find a school that Bonnie felt was suitable, she flew off the handle and started calling him all sorts of names."
· Bonnie ruined Make-A-Wish: "Bonnie is a millionaire many times over. Meanwhile, poor dying children can't get the funding they need because the foundation spent their money to sent this millionairess, her four kids, her husband and her nanny to Hawaii for two weeks. It's disgusting."
· Bonnie is a racist: "Bonnie does not want minorities on the cover — or even in the magazine. You can flip through any given issue of Star and you might see 20 pictures of black celebrities — but it will be the same four celebrities over and over again — Halle, Beyonce, P.Diddy — and Jay-Z but only because he's with Beyonce."
Bonnie did not, however, kill Santa Claus. Read for yourself; we've got the exclusive email (which is so fucking absurd, we couldn't bear to insert "[sic]" every time it was merited) in its entirety after the jump.
60 Minutes is in the midst of editing a profile on tabloid queen Bonnie Fuller and sources close to the project say what Fuller expected to be a puff piece is turning out to be anything but. "Bonnie is very close to losing her job as editorial director at American Media," an insider says.
"For her $1.5 million salary, she hasn't provided anything for the company but red ink — and her stupid yellow pencil that she uses to write captions like 'Baby in here!' All she's done with Star is recreate the deadline and budget overruns she was famous for at Us Weekly. But Bonnie didn't realize that once she jumped ship to the tabloids, her name would become mud amongst publicists and media outlets like Entertainment Tonight — most of whom never liked her anyway." Several celebrities who used to give interviews to US Weekly when Bonnie was editor refuse to give them to Star — not because of its tabloid roots but because they simply don't like Fuller.
"We didn't want to work with her at US, and there's even less reason to work with her at Star," one publicist said. "She's a liar. She thinks when she drops her name that we're all going to stop and take her call but the truth is she's nothing but the editor of a picture book. I'd take calls from [columnist] Victoria Gotti or [Editor] Joe Dolce before I'd take calls from Bonnie. At least Joe doesn't lie to me."
As well, Fuller is known around the staff as having compulsive disorders that make her obsess over little things while not being able to see the big picture. "She can spend up to 15 minutes deciding which coffee to order in the morning, while the whole staff of editors is just sitting there in a meeting waiting for her. Her constant delays cost untold amounts in man-hours and if she doesn't get the coffee she wants, she throws a temper tantrum." A former staffer notes, "She needs therapy but instead everyone who works for her ends up needing therapy instead."
The notoriously frugal Fuller also demanded that whenever her reporters attend an event where gift bags are given out, that the bags be dropped off at her office for "reader giveaways." "In reality, Bonnie cherrypicks through the gift bags herself, taking out everything she wants for herself and her four kids and then whatever is left she gives away to the readers." An insider says she has even gone so far as to demand that giftbags be sent in from all the bureau offices, even from London, for her perusal.
Despite her wealth of free goodies, an in-house spy reports that Fuller wears the same old black leather jacket and last-season's pointy-toed shoes on a near daily basis. "She spends a fortune on these shoes and she can't even walk in them," laughs one spy. "She walks like a duck." As well, Bonnie and her NY-based minions spend a fortune on stylists and hair and makeup people to make them look good for their TV appearances — and it doesn't show. "They even had to send one reporter to classes to make him look better on TV. Bonnie has other people on staff that could do the TV appearances but she only wants her favorites on TV. She knows David Pecker takes these TV appearances very seriously so she doesn't want anyone else to curry favor with him." In real life, Fuller looks like a chubbier Ricky Lake, the insider says.
Adds one source: "Ever since Bonnie took over, Star has increased its pages of beauty and fashion products but it's not because the Star reader cares about fashion. It's because Bonnie and her best friend, creative director Kelli Delaney both come from Glamour and they wanted to continue receiving expensive creams, makeups and perfumes, and clothing for themselves. They don't share any of the goods with the underpaid reporters." Delaney also spent a week at a delux spa to write about her "trip there with best friend model Claudia Schiffer" — on the company's dime — but then missed the scoop when her supposed friend gave People magazine the exclusive on her pregnancy. "Kelli claims she is best pals with Jessica Simpson yet Jessica goes to US Weekly time and time again for her exclusive interviews. Kelli doesn't even know Jessica."
A former employee notes that while Bonnie takes home $1.5 million annually, plus a $10,000 weekly bonus for sales over 1 million newsstand (which she has been collecting regularly since March), and pal Kelli Delaney makes $400,000. Yet the photo editors — who work 80 hour weeks plus Sundays barely crack $100,000 (in New York!) and many of the reporters are at half that. Some of the reporters on the bureau staffs make less than $35,000 per year — with no bonuses. AMI also does not give out Christmas bonuses, although an insider says that Bonnie expects her staff to all give her expensive Christmas presents - which she often regifts to her own family in Canada.
The editrix, who just turned 50, is also obsessed with staying young and her obsession has become the butt of many staff jokes. "She doesn't want to write about anyone over 40 and she won't put anyone old in the magazine, even if they are still good looking," says the insider. "Star readers, who are typically older, responded so well to a recent Demi Moore cover — while Bonnie's numerous Paris Hilton covers have bombed — that Dolce wants her to reconsider but Bonnie is more concerned with looking hip than getting readers. She frequently asks her teenage children for advice on covers!"
Fuller's obsession with the young market has caused US Weekly to increase as Star plummets. "When Bonnie took over, Star had a much higher circulation and it's gone up even more with the new glossy look. But at the same time, she's lost a lot of the older readers because of her refusal to cover older celebrities, hit TV shows and because of her obsessions with nobody's such as Paris Hilton, Mischa Barton and Lindsey Lohan - all of whom sell to the US crowd but not the Star audience, which is typically older." Ads for the magazine have increased, however - but an insider says it's due to the tripling of the ad sales staff rather than Bonnie's influence.
As well, staffers have complained that Fuller is the ultimate anti feminist who pokes fun at women with cellulite, weight problems and bad hair, while she constantly promotes the idea of pregnancy with her numerous paeans to pregnant celebrities - bump watch! — and the obvious follow-up on how they lost the baby weight. "Bonnie is positively obsessed with pregnant women and has had four children herself because her husband has a strange attraction to pregnant women," says the insider. "She thinks all men are hot for pregnant women, that's how naive she is." Meanwhile, the busy mom barely even sees her own kids, which are raised by her husband — with Bonnie's dictatorship-like advice given via frequent nasty phone calls. "One of Bonnie's children has a learning disorder and when her husband couldn't find a school that Bonnie felt was suitable, she flew off the handle and started calling him all sorts of names," says an earwitness.
"If you look at any of the magazines Bonnie's edited, they may as well all have the same title — "THE YOUNG GIRLS GUIDE TO POOR SELF-ESTEEM." She celebrates anorexic fake celebrities, fake tits and desecrates any woman who "can't find a man" or has cellulite, pimples or bad hair. It's what she did at YM, Glamor, US and now Star. Bonnie also started a feature called Boob Watch about celebrity breasts. "I feel like I work at Hustler rather than a red-carpet magazine," one staffer complained. "Bonnie is weird and sick."
Not suprisingly, after Bonnie demands a cruel cover on a celebrity she then ducks the publicist's calls and makes her flacks take the abuse. "She promises this kinder gentler star when she wines and dines publicists but she doesn't have to stand on the red carpet and take their abuse after she prints another unflattering article," says one former Star hack. (Some celebs, who are FOBs (friends of Bonnie's) such as Jessica Simpson, Jennifer Lopez and Anna Nicole Smith are the subject of only kind stories, however. In fact, when her good pal Kimora Lee Simmons was arrested for DUI, Bonnie's caption on her mug shot read "Kimora's CUTE mug shot." Yeah, drunk driving — it's so sexy!)
The diva editor also famously demanded an upgrade to first class when she took her four children to Hawaii for a vacation that was sponsored by The Make A Wish foundation. Although Fuller insists she paid for the cost of the upgrade, she is unapologetic for taking charity money for something she could easily afford. "Bonnie is a millionaire many times over. Meanwhile, poor dying children can't get the funding they need because the foundation spent their money to sent this millionairess, her four kids, her husband and her nanny to Hawaii for two weeks. It's disgusting." Another insider says that despite her willingness to TAKE charity, Fuller doesn't give to charity and demands free seats for herself at charity events that don't give free press seating. "She won't pay for anything, not even for a charity event where the proceeds go to help children. Considering her child has lukemia, that's just chutzpah." (Which she has in spades, although Bonnie often tries to hide the fact that she is Jewish, especially with her name change to
Fuller is also extremely jealous of her female co-workers and has asked that attractive women be kept off television, preferring to have herself or her gay minions do as many TV appearances as possible. "She's furious over all the attention that Victoria Gotti is getting for her Growing Up Gotti show," says an insider. "Victoria is quite a bit older than Bonnie but can still fit into a size 6 gown while Bonnie struggles to get into a 12!" Sources at AMI say the hatred between the two women is legendary as Bonnie has fired Gotti twice - then was forced to eat crow when boss David Pecker begged Gotti to come back to Star. Since then, Gotti has quit twice — because she refused to take orders from Bonnie. Gotti isn't shy about expressing her dislike of Bonnie, telling staffers that she's a "selfish, self-centered bitch who only thinks about herself and shits on everyone else." It's become so bad that the two women never speak, forcing Dolce to be the go-between." I wish Gotti would have somebody whack Bonnie," notes one staffer. Even so, Bonnie did make a brief appearance on Growing Up Gotti. "She's desperate to be a celebrity herself," says an insider. "Pathetically desperate. When she gets press credentials for an awards show, she expects to walk the red carpet like a celebrity. She doesn't understand press credentials mean you stand on the side and wait for the celebrities to come to you!"
"Bonnie is extremely jealous of everyone she believes is smarter or better looking than her, which is, well, pretty much everyone — and if she thinks she can't control someone, she has them fired. She surrounds herself with yes-men — especially effeminate gay men — and tells her staff not to be good reporters but to "be cheerleaders" for her. "It's insulting," says one award-winning journalist. "We bust our asses to find news scoops then she tells us to be cheerleaders. The woman doesn't know the first thing about journalism but as far as stealing credit and shifting blame, there is honestly no one better."
The move to replace Fuller has come about in the past two months when Editor Joe Dolce went on vacation and it was quickly shown that the cover designed by Dolce outsold Fuller's cover (one which included her idol Paris Hilton) regularly by some 200,000 copies newsstand. "She was hired for her ability to design covers and she's apparently lost that magic touch so why pay her $1.5 million that could be better spent on news coverage and photos?" says a source close to Pecker. An insider says that Fuller relies on a focus group to help her pick her covers because, "I just don't understand these Star readers," she's complained. "I don't know what they want." Further, the negative article in the new Fortune magazine has Pecker on the warpath against Bonnie.
An insider says Fuller, who doesn't even drive or do her own shopping - except when she is in The Hamptons - is so out of touch with her readers that one of the first thing she did as editor was kill the magazines Crossword puzzles - which prompted so many cancelled subscriptions that she had to put them back in and then devoted even more pages to puzzles and games. "Everyone knows that a lot of people buy Star just for the crossword puzzle - it's a great one," says one former editor. "Even the janitor could have told her that was a mistake but she thought people wanted an extra page of fashion instead." Fuller, who doesn't know how to use a computer, is rumored to not know how to do a crossword puzzle as well.
Behind her back, staffers refer to Bonnie as Leona, in reference to infamous hotel queen Leona Helmsley who shares Fuller's traits of being overbearing, cheap, compulsive, racist and ugly. "Pecker's gotten his publicity out of her, she's served her purpose and his war with US has put Star back on the map. Now he wants to dump her as cheaply as possible — just like he dumped many of her expensive hires." In fact several longtime Bonnie devotees recently left Star due to the long hours and abusive treatment. Even features kiss-ass Samantha Youngman resigned after working with Bonnie for seven years. Entertainment Editor Wendy Jenson also quit — despite being wooed away from US Weekly with a huge salary - and went to work for another company at a LOWER salary. "She worked with Bonnie for six years but she's noticed that Bonnie has really changed. She's abusive and mean and selfish and there's no amount of money that compensates for the strain she puts on people. The staff is really hoping that Bonnie will leave, that Samantha will come back and that Dolce will be the main editor," says an employee. "He's rational and smart and unlike Bonnie, he wants to get out of work at a decent hour and actually spend time with his loved ones, rather than spend his nights screaming at them via cellphone."
Another bone of contention at AMI is the hiring of gossip columnist, the eyebrowless Michael Lewittes, who is widely seen as a fraud and a waste of money. "He does nothing," complains one employee. "Other people write his column and he relies on publicists to give him items. He does no actual reporting himself." An insider at US Weekly says that three times this year Lewittes came to the New York offices of Wenner Media begging for his old job back — and was turned away each time. "He feels like he doesn't get the good stuff from publicists that he used to and since his column sucks and everyone hates him, he wants to leave — and everyone will say good riddance when he does." The columnist is also known to phone up other reporters' confidential sources and try to steal them. "He's worked with Bonnie for seven years and he's learned all her tricks," says one source. Another insider says that Lewittes claims to be an Orthodox Jew so that he can leave work early on Friday and take no calls for Shabbat — and he takes off all the Jewish holidays when he claims he cannot answer his phone or check his ubiquitous blackberry. Although Lewittes is Jewish, he is NOT orthodox.
As well, several minority employees left Star over disputes that Fuller is racist and refused to cover non-white celebrities other than a select pale few including Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez and friend Kimora Lee Simmons. "Bonnie does not want minorities on the cover — or even in the magazine. You can flip through any given issue of Star and you might see 20 pictures of black celebrities — but it will be the same four celebrities over and over again — Halle, Beyonce, P.Diddy — and Jay-Z but only because he's with Beyonce. It took Bonnie more than 16 months before she even put Oprah Winfrey on the cover — and that was Joe Dolce's decision, and a very good seller for Star. Bonnie felt Oprah was TOO OLD — even though Bonnie herself is the same age." In the 18 months since Fuller took over the magazine, she's only had black celebrities as the main image on the cover three times — Halle's divorce, the recent Oprah cover, Beyonce, Janet Jackson's superbowl boob scandal, and Kobe Bryant for the rape scandal. "If a black person is on the cover, it's a scandal. Twice it's been something positive, but yet she buries scandals on white celebs that she likes." Fuller also dislikes country music artists and called Faith Hill a "country bumpkin" who shouldn't be on the fashion pages.
"The only time Bonnie wants to write about an older woman is if she's dating a much younger man," notes a source. "Bonnie is OBSESSED with Demi and Ashton and Cameron and Justin to the point where there are rumors that she herself is interested in bedding a much younger man."
Another common complaint is Fuller's insistence on editing the magazine as if she were the target audience. "She won't write about shows like Fear Factor, Without a Trace, Cold Case, or any of the Law & Orders or any of the CSI franchises, or even Survivor — the top shows in the country — because she, Bonnie Fuller, doesn't like them," a former editor says. "She thinks they are filled with ugly old boring people. But she's devote page after page to The Bachelor or, when it was on, a weekly spread to Sex & The City, which had a total viewership of 6 million people. She's completely out of touch with mid-America and rarely even visits LA. Bonnie believes that Paris Hilton and Sarah Jessica Parker are the two biggest celebrities in America — even though any Q-factor list would clearly show otherwise." Insiders also note that Fuller has a bizarre obsession with Madonna and her children and regularly devotes two-page spreads to pictures of Rocco Richie and sister Lourdes. "There is something about Madonna or Kaballah — usually both — in every issue. Bonnie is fascinated with Kaballah and thinks the average reader in Peoria even cares." Adds another insider: "Her obsession with Rocco Richie and Reese Witherspoon's daughter Ava borders on sickness. She thinks they are blond, blue-eyed and adorable - yet she's vetoed pictures of Angelina Jolie's Cambodian son Maddox, who most of the photo editors think is the cutest celebrity baby around."
The money-obsessed Fuller also tries to work dollar-signs and figures into almost every story. "If there is a wedding, it's a $1 million dollar wedding. If a celebrity eats a salad, she wants to know how much the salad cost. She ought to be editing Lucky. It's all pictures with captions on where to buy stuff and what it costs. That's where her head is really at."
Cost overruns have also sent the notoriously tempermental Pecker into fits, says a source in the Florida headquarters. "He hates Bonnie," says the insider. "He thinks she is a poor businesswoman and all that matters to Pecker is the bottom line whereas Bonnie sees AMI as a bottomless pit of money." While Dolce demands that reporters and editors start work no later than 9:30 a.m., Fuller often rolls in after 2 p.m. and doesn't start reading pages until 8 p.m. - forcing editors to stay until as late as 4 a.m. while they await her page approvals. "We leave at 2 a.m. and have to be back in at 10 a.m.," says one editor. "She keeps promising it will get better and it hasn't changed at all." Fuller also refuses to let employees take more than three weeks of vacation per year. "I don't believe in vacations," she said at one staff meeting.
Fuller is also famous for being late. "She will schedule a meeting for noon and keep the person waiting for up to two hours while she browses through take-out menus," says a source. "And on Wednesdays, she gets all the other magazines - US, In Touch - and goes through them screaming at the staff on why they don't have the same stories in Star - when often they are in Star!" Although Fuller has a reputation and a screamer and a coffee-cup thrower, another insider says the worst thing about her is when she uses her "fake mommy" voice. "She speaks in this really slow, soft voice and repeats herself over and over again like she's talking to an infant," complains one insider. "It's so patronizing."
Although we're not sure how much of this will make the 60 Minutes profile, insiders do say that Fuller's reign is nearly over. "She has a two-year contract with AMI and she was told if she couldn't turn things around in two years, she would be out. So everyone expects her to be sent packing by next June, if not sooner. If they can her sooner, they have to pay out her contract, but David Pecker is starting to realize that it would be cheaper to pay her to leave — and avoid all her cost overruns — that it would be to pay her to work."
In the meantime, Pecker has taken to hiring Brits to take over the New York offices of the National Enquirer and insiders say it's only a matter of time before he puts Dolce or one of the Brits in charge of Star. "Don't believe what he says to the press," says a friend of Pecker's. "He finds Bonnie to be exasperating, indecisive and, most of all, just plain dumb. But he's not going to say that because it was his decision to hire her. It took awhile but he finally realized the emperor has no clothes."
(Sorry, Bonnie, we can't name our sources just like Star magazine, but if it's good enough for you, it's good enough for us!)